The UN has called on the Vatican to hand over details in the cases of tens of thousands of children allegedly abused by clergy.
The list, published on the committee’s website earlier this week, calls on the Vatican to give “detailed information” on cases of alleged abuse “committed by members of the clergy, brothers and nuns”.
The committee said it wanted to know what measures the Church has put in place to ensure clergy members accused of sexual abuse were cut off from contact with children.
It has also asked what support has been given to victims of sexual abuse by the Holy See.
Moreover, the UN has requested details where kids “were silenced in order to minimise the risk of public disclosure” and what measures the Vatican has taken to prevent further abuse.
The UN has long raised concerns about the ongoing paedophile priest scandal, but the committee’s list represents its most far-reaching request for information about the cases.
Pope Francis has vowed to “act with determination in cases of sexual abuse”.
His predecessor Benedict XVI was the first pontiff to apologise to victims.
However, campaigners have argued that Vatican words outstrip action when it comes to tackling the widespread problem of abuse and subsequent cover-ups.
The list also includes questions about other issues, including its labelling of kids born outside wedlock as “illegitimate”.
The Irony of this story is that most of the drug trade is controlled by state officials
YANGON – Myanmar has delayed by five years its deadline to eliminate drug production within its borders, a senior official said Monday, as the impoverished nation struggles to stem a growing narcotics crisis.
Authorities are “very concerned” about a rebound in poppy cultivation over the last six years in Myanmar, the world’s second-largest opium producer, while amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) are also surging, said deputy police chief Zaw Win.
Due to “threats posed by ATS” and to achieve a reduction in poppy cultivation, Myanmar’s narcotic control board has “extended its drug elimination to 2019”, he said at the opening of six nation talks in Yangon. The previous target was 2014.
He added that Myanmar’s authorities were “doing our best” to help stem the flow of drugs in the region.
Officials from China, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam have gathered in Myanmar for days of talks on a worsening drugs crisis, which the United Nations has warned poses a threat to public security.
A ministerial-level meeting in the capital Nya Pyi Taw on Thursday is expected to produce a regional declaration on the issue.
Zaw Win told delegates that it was “crystal clear that (the) methamphetamine problem is growing rapidly”, adding that “more and more international drug syndicates are becoming involved”.
“Illicit drug production and trafficking are closely linked to instability, human security and insurgency at the border areas, which creates serious challenges to the ability of law enforcement agencies,” he said.
The drugs trade is closely linked to Myanmar’s long-running insurgencies in remote areas bordering Thailand, Laos and China – known as the golden triangle – with ethnic minority rebels widely thought to use drug profits to fund operations.
As part of its reform drive, Myanmar’s quasi-civilian government has reached tentative peace deals with most major armed ethnic groups.
But Gary Lewis, regional representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, in December said the ease of production of methamphetamine in small laboratories, along with distrust between the rebels and authorities meant that some groups could decide to “hedge their bets”.
Around 5.9 million methamphetamine pills were seized in Myanmar in 2011, almost double the figure for the previous year, the UN said in a December report, although seizures are likely to represent only a fraction of the amount produced.
Myanmar was once the world’s largest producer of illicit opium until it was replaced by Afghanistan in 1991. But after years of decline, poppy cultivation again began to rise in 2007.
In Haiti, 70% are unemployed after the Earthquake ravaged the island. Some reports suggest it is closer to 80%. There is not a shortage in workforce, just a shortage of suitable jobs for the poor in Haiti.
Some of the employed are part of the rich in Haiti. Still, others are working jobs like street cleaner which is considered one of the good jobs. It pays $2.75 per day. Minimum wage in Haiti is $1.00.
Most Haitian schools are privately funded. 90% of the students in Haiti are educated from international private schools run by the United States, France, Canada, or another nation. The above school comes from the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Haiti has a literacy rate of just 53%. The poor in Haiti living in rural parts of Haiti do not have access to many of the private schools.
Over one-third of the hospitals in Haiti are not functional since the Earthquake of 2010. The health care system in Haiti wasn’t great to begin with. Haiti only spends about $84 on health care per capita, compared to $7,146 in America.
Haiti has a population of just over 10 million. For every 100,000 people, there are 25 doctors and 11 nurses. Only one-fourth of births are attended by a skilled health professional. Most rural areas have no access to health care, making residents susceptible to otherwise treatable diseases.
Historically, HIV and malaria had been a huge problem in Haiti. Thanks to condom distribution, HIV infection is down to 2.2%. It had been feared before aid that the number would exceed 5%. The malaria rate is below 1% thanks to mosquito net distribution and insecticide.
A cholera outbreak has occurred due directly to the United Nations. 8,000 are dead due to cholera. More than 640,000 are infected.
Permanent housing like the one above in Croix-des-Bouquets is in the works. 36,500 families will receive subsidies for rent by the end of 2013.
Haiti’s current properly laws prevent the sale of government land. The rentals will reduce the total number of individuals in camps to approximately 50,250 families.
When a major earthquake clobbered Haiti in January 2010, a shift in how international officials talked about solving the country’s ills was already under way. Starting with then-U.N. special envoy, Bill Clinton, the word “aid” had fallen from use, in favor of the new buzzword in international development: “investment.” The term was sexier, more optimistic, and promised something not only for recipients but also givers with diminishing economic and political confidence: a return.
After the catastrophe, investment fever was everywhere, expressing itself in hundreds of millions of dollars poured into efforts to scale up Haiti’s moribund export sector, particularly in low-wage textile factories, tourism, and niche-crop agriculture, such as mangoes. Another directly related trend was the investment of money and political capital in a new president, Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly, a former pop musician whose core governing principle — expressed, in English, at his inaugural address — was to create “a new Haiti open for business, now.” Anything that threatened those investments, and the further investments they were meant to attract, could expect a cold reception.
That’s the greeting that awaited Michel Forst, the visiting U.N. independent expert on human rights in Haiti, when he returned to Port-au-Prince last November. His ensuing report was an ice bath in reply. Forst alleged police torture and pervasive judicial corruption, deteriorating security, crackdowns on press freedom, and a general inadequacy on the part of Haiti’s leaders — including Martelly and Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe — to uphold the rule of law. He invoked the recent cases of Serge Démosthène, a groundskeeper allegedly tortured to death by police trying to elicit a confession in the killing of a major Haitian banker; and Calixte Valentin, a Martelly adviser arrested on murder charges but freed months later by a “judge believed to have been appointed solely for the purpose.” Forst even took a swipe at the United Nations for failing to “throw light on the causes of the outbreak of the cholera epidemic” its peacekeepers are suspected to have caused. (Evidence suggests U.N. soldiers introduced the disease, previously unknown in Haiti, by contaminating a major river with their sewage. With more than 8,000 dead, the U.N. has refused to apologize, and recently rejected a petition for redress.) “I cannot hide from you my concern and my disappointment in the face of how the situation has developed in the fields of the state of law and human rights,” Forst explained, as he presented his report to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva last month.
The report was Forst’s last as the U.N.’s expert on human rights in Haiti. Upon finishing his presentation, the French official announced that despite being eligible for an additional, sixth year on his term, he was resigning immediately “for personal reasons.” As if to underscore the improbability of that explanation, the council’s president, Remigiusz Henczel, thanked Forst for his work, “Regardless of the reasons for your resignation.”
To Haitians who had been following the story, it seemed clear that Forst hadn’t jumped on his own. “Michel Forst is very attached … to the rule of law and fight against impunity while we have a government that acts arbitrarily and encourages impunity and corruption. ” Haitian human-rights campaigner Pierre Espérance told the newspaper Haiti Progrès.
Private interviews with officials familiar with Forst’s departure, granted on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, confirmed this view: that a breakdown in relations with President Martelly, exacerbated by impatience inside a U.S. State Department invested in the Haitian administration’s credibility, resulted in his dismissal. At first, those sources said, the Caribbean nation‘s president simply wanted the human-rights council to deny the pro-forma yearly renewal of the independent expert’s mandate entirely. Eventually, pressured by allies who wanted to see the position maintained, Martelly relented — under the condition that someone other than Forst take over the position. “They felt Forst never really helped them at all. He’d just come pontificate,” one diplomat explained.
Forst’s critics blasted him for arrogance. But the departing official — who remains the voluntary chairman of the committee coordinating all U.N. special rapporteurs worldwide, and whose day job is secretary-general of the French government’s national human-rights council — wasn’t finished. In a parting op-ed reprinted in Haitian newspapers and made available to foreign journalists, he poked his opponents where it hurt, rejecting the notion that Martelly’s Haiti is “open for business” at all. Noting that economic development is linked to the rule of law and stability to human rights, he hoped for a Haiti where “human rights proclamations will finally become real.” (In late 2012, Forst had been even more blunt, telling a press conference: “Haiti is not ready at this time for the return of large companies.”)
The irony is that many of the same concerns Forst expressed are shared by many in the governments and organizations whose money and influence hold sway over Haiti’s leaders — including the United States — and even by Martelly himself. Forst praised many of the government’s efforts, including the dismissal of 79 police officers in November 2012, including chief inspectors, found guilty of crimes ranging from rape and drug trafficking to falsifying credentials. Aware of international concerns, Haiti’s president and prime minister — who both embarked in the middle of l’affaire Forst on investment — seeking tours of the Caribbean and West Africa — have affirmed they are in a “war against corruption.” But Forst seems to have broken an unwritten rule against criticizing the government’s efforts in public.
Haiti has long suffered from an often-unfairly negative image abroad. Its current government knows that in order to attract serious investment, that image has to change, and has been aggressive about pushing back against negative publicity — no matter the source. Regardless of whether any specific initiatives were threatened by Forst’s condemnations, it seems clear that his tone was no longer welcome. (The Haitian government did not respond to a request for public comment.)
Specifics may become clearer over time. Forst’s departure recalls the late-2010 dismissal of another outspoken diplomat — Organization of American States permanent representative Ricardo Seitenfus, who saw his contract expire after he criticized the heavy hand of the international community, particularly U.N. peacekeepers, in Haiti. In retrospect it seems clearer that Seitenfus was causing problems by airing public grievances at a moment when the OAS and other major players were embroiled in a debate over how and whether to intervene in a shambolic postquake presidential election. Following his dismissal, the OAS presented a highly controversial report alleging fraud in Haiti’s vote count that would have benefited the then-ruling party of President René Préval. That report, backed strongly by the Obama administration, upended the electoral tally, and paved Martelly’s path to the presidency.
Then, as now, it’s not that the international community was reticent to make its opinions felt in Haiti — even those far more condemnatory than Forst’s ultimately toothless reports. But when investments are on the line, it’s usually advantageous to keep embarrassing facts far from view. As one Western diplomat told me, “We find it’s better to beat them up in private than in public.”
22/04/2013 – Jean-Claude Duvalier Rule of Law and Reason of State?
23/04/2013 – Daily Life in Haiti for the Poor
24/04/2013- A look at Digicel and the Moral Compass of Denis O’Brien
A quick look at how we humans run our planet
It would appear we as a race are clueless when it comes to population control.
In relation to the distribution of resources and wealth we appear to be equally naive.
When it comes to the subject of Ecocide this is an area where humans appear to have developed considerable skills
PARIS – These are not the sorts of “islands” where you’d plan your next tropical vacation. Located in vast areas of the world’s Oceans, by some accounts comprising an area twice as big as Texas, they are home to neither human nor animal life.
Instead these islands are instead simply monstrious spirals of trash.
And now, reports La Stampa, to bring attention to this epic example of man-made pollution, the United Nations’ cultural and science agency UNESCO will designate the conglomerations of rubbish a veritable territory of its own. On April 11, the world will welcome a new “State” to be named Garbage Patch.
[Clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch Facebook]
Garbage Patch comprises of five areas of man-made rubbish in the seas: North Pacific, South Pacific, North Atlantic, South Atlantic, and Indian Ocean. The largest, discovered in 2009, is called the Great Garbage Patch or the Pacific Trash Vortex. Marine currents brings the rubbish together, swirling to the surface. The garbage gets broken down, thanks to photodegradation, into smaller and smaller pieces that are consumed by marine life, reentering the food chain.
Spain-based Italian architect Maria Cristina Finucci, has led the effort to get the UNESCO, state designation. The official Facebook page declares that Garbage Patch will be a federal state with a population of 36,939 — tons of garbage. The nation’s flag will be blue, like the oceans it pollutes.
“I found out about the tragic islands made of plastic, but they were treated lightly by the scientific community,” says Finucci. “There were no photos and images are necessary to gauge the problem.”
Finucci believes that in creating a state, people will become more aware. “The only things that we can do now is to stop them from getting bigger,” she told La Stampa.
[Bottle Caps via Garbage Patch State’s Facebook]
The initiative coincides with 2013 being declared the year of water. There’s a website for the Garbage Patch, run by students at prestigious Venetian University Ca’ Foscari, which aims explain the floating islands through fantastical characters similar to those of Greek mythology. There will also be postcards: “Greetings from the Garbage State” on a deckchair and umbrella.
The inauguration ceremony won’t take place on any of the islands itself, but at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris with a performance meant to recreate the islands: bottle caps on the floor, plastic bags everywhere, and even the sound of waves playing in the background.
Hunger strikes among an estimated 100 detainees have continued to worsen, with the military now conceding that as many as 28 are “officially” hunger striking, and three of the detainees have been hospitalized as their conditions deteriorate. 10 others are also being force-fed.
The deteriorating health is largely what was expected, as hunger strikers have been taking water, but no food for months, and medical experts have warned that permanent consequences could happen soon, with deaths possible in a matter of weeks.
The hunger strikes began after the confiscation of several detainees’ Qu’rans, and is continuing with many detainees resenting being held without charges more or less forever.
The military has been very slow in recognizing strikers, and even today continues to insist that it believes many of the detainees are “cheating” and sneaking snacks when they aren’t looking.
The “not looking” factor has been the Pentagon’s go-to excuse for not recognizing the strikers as real, insisting that they deliver communal meals and don’t really keep an eye on who is eating and who isn’t, and insisting that the numbers cited by human rights lawyers are “exaggerated.” Yet with Pentagon recognitions jumping several-fold in the past week, they are rapidly coming to admit the problem.
With many of the detainees already approved for release, it would be a particular embarrassment if some of them began dying in hunger strikes simply because the Obama Administration hasn’t gotten around to letting them go for so long. This was a driving factor behind not admitting the problem was real in the first place, but with it clearly not going away, there will hopefully be some move to give in to detainee demands.
BRITAIN is unsuitable for human life, the UN has declared.
It is rather nippy
As forecasters predict ice, snow, darkness and blade-like freezing winds that can actually slice your face off, the UN declared the country uninhabitable and began evacuation procedures.
A UN spokesman said: “We just want to get as many people out alive as possible, then we’ll figure out distributing them across pleasanter places like Spain.
“We’ll be sending helicopters in about a week, keep watching during the X Factor ad breaks for details of where to rendezvous. Maximum two pieces of hand luggage each.
“In the meantime, just stay inside. Do not attempt to leave the house or even look out of the window, it’s far too psychologically damaging.”
British father-of-two Stephen Malley said: “I leave for work in freezing darkness and then I leave the office in freezing darkness.
“I’m sure this country is like a giant haunted house, actively trying to kill its inhabitants.”
I’d like to spend a day or two inside the head of Iran’s Vice President, Mohammad-Reza Rahimi. I’m sure it’s a cavernous place with lots of room for exploring and stuff. But there’s so much weird stuff going on in there, it could become a tourist destination. Extreme tourism.
Two things here: if a Zionist is willing to go into a business partnership with me, take some drugs for a few days and get PAID by the Iranian government, then I’ll go 50/50 with you. I’ll do the research, you do the drugs, we’ll both get RICH beyond our wildest dreams.
Second thing: I personally don’t know anyone who is addicted to drugs. Yeah, I know, I live a sheltered life. Not a single person. Therefore, they’re all drug dealers. It makes sense, doesn’t it. Every person I’ve ever known is a drugs dealer.
I feel like I’m in one of those God-awful M. Night Shyalamamamaman films (or whatever his stupid name is) where there’s a painfully obvious “reveal” at the end, but I’m the only one who didn’t see it.
Every single one of my friends is a drug dealer. Because the logic of Mr Rahimi says so.
And so are all Jews. Woody Allen, you drug-dealing bastard. Scarlett Johansson sells dope, Ben Stiller flogs bath salts and Justin Bieber (go on, you know he’s Jewish) sells skag to addicts in Leith on a regular basis. It’s all true, because Iran said so.
No, hang on, I’m getting hung up on terminology here. It’s Zionists, not Jews. Whatevs. Both of them read this book, you see – it’s called The Talmud. I’ve never read it, but apparently all Jews have read it over and over. Mr Rahimi reckons it makes them drug dealers. Apparently, it says “you shall deal drugs” 20,000 times. Not exactly a page-turner, but then it’s better than Fifty Shades of Grey, which says “dildo” and “buttplug” 20,000 times. Over and over.
As Archbishop Cranmer points out, nobody bothered to report this. What’s more, Mr Rahimi was allowed to accuse Jews of dealing drugs by the UN, who gave him a platform to tell the world that Woody Allen is a crack dealer.
Proving the Irish Famine was genocide by the British — Tim Pat Coogan moves Famine history on to a new plane
“The Famine Plot”, published by Palgrave MacMillan, was released in America last week and Coogan should have been here to launch it but in a separate but equally confounding plot he was denied a visa to come here by the American Embassy in Dublin.
The conclusion from his book is unmistakable. Ireland’s most prominent historian, who has previously created definitive portraits of both Michael Collins and Eamon De Valera, has now pointed the finger squarely at the British during the Famine and stated it was genocide.
It is a big charge, but Coogan is a big man, physically, intellectually, and in every sense and makes a very effective accusation. Coogan has painted a portrait of devastating neglect, abuse, and mismanagement that certainly fits the genocide concept.
I mean if we go back to that time, Ireland was the equivalent of Puerto Rico or Samoa, massive dependencies on the United States today.
If there were a massive food shortage in either of those two countries, we know the US would step up to the plate, literally.
Back in Famine time, the same potato crop disease occurred most heavily in Scotland, outside Ireland, yet there were relatively few casualties as the landowners and government ensured, for their own sakes as much as anything, that there was no mass death.
That was not the case in Ireland, where a very different mentality prevailed. The damned Irish were going to get what they deserved because of their attachment to Catholicism and Irish ways when they were refusing to toe the British line.
As Coogan painstakingly recounts, every possible effort by local organizations to feed the starving were thwarted and frustrated by a British government intent on teaching the Irish a lesson and forcing market forces on them.
Charles Trevelyan, the key figure in the British government, had foreshadowed the deadly policy in a letter to the “Morning Post”, after a trip to Ireland, where he heartily agreed with the sentiment that there were at least a million or two people too many in the benighted land and that the eight million could not possibly survive there.
“Protestant and Catholic will freely fall and the land will be for the survivors.”
Shortly after, he was in charge of a policy that brought that situation about.
One Trevelyan story and one quote suffice.
“British Coastguard Inspector-General, Sir James Dombrain, when he saw starving paupers, ordered his subordinates to give free food handouts. For his attempts to feed the starving, Dombrain was publicly rebuked by Trevelyan…”
The Trevelyan quote is “The real evil with which we have to contend is not the physical evil of the Famine but the moral evil of the selfish, perverse and turbulent character of the people.”
Tim Pat Coogan has done an enormous service with this book.
Read it and weep.
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The move has been seen as defying a UN vote that implicitly recognised Palestinian statehood in the region.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s conservative government had authorised the construction of 3,000 housing units and ordered “prelimiliary zoning and planning work for thousands” more.
The official would not elaborate. But Israeli media said the government sought to hammer home its rejection of yesterday’s upgrade, by the UN General Assembly, of the Palestinians to “non-member observer state” from “entity”.
Israel and the United States had opposed the resolution, which strenghtened the Palestinians’ claim on all of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, saying territorial sovereignty should be addressed in direct peace talks with the Jewish state.
Those negotiations have been stalled for two years, however, given Palestinian anger at continued Israeli settlement.
The Israelis insist they would keep West Bank settlement blocs under any final accord as well as all of Jerusalem as their capital.
That status for the holy city has never been accepted abroad, where most powers consider the settlements illegal for taking in land captured in the 1967 Middle East war.
The 193-nation UN General Assembly overwhelmingly approved the de facto recognition of the sovereign state of Palestine after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urged the world body to issue what he said was its long overdue “birth certificate”.
Meanwhile, the Vatican has hailed the United Nations’ implicit recognition of a Palestinian state and called for an internationally guaranteed special status for Jerusalem.
Palestine now has the same status as the Vatican.
A statement said: “The Holy See welcomes with favour the decision of the General Assembly by which Palestine has become a Non-member Observer State of the United Nations,”
It also said it was a “propitious occasion” to recall a “common position” on Jerusalem expressed by the Vatican and the Palestine Liberation Organisation when the two sides signed a basic agreement on their bilateral relations in 2000.
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations voted overwhelmingly Thursday to recognize a Palestinian state, a long-sought victory for the Palestinians but an embarrassing diplomatic defeat for the United States.
The resolution upgrading the Palestinians’ status to a nonmember observer state at the United Nations was approved by a more than two-thirds majority of the 193-member world body — a vote of 138-9, with 41 abstentions.
Real independence, however, remains an elusive dream until the Palestinians negotiate a peace deal with the Israelis, who warned that the General Assembly action will only delay a lasting solution. Israel still controls the West Bank, east Jerusalem and access to Gaza, and it accused the Palestinians of bypassing negotiations with the campaign to upgrade their U.N. status.
The United States immediately criticized the historic vote. “Today’s unfortunate and counterproductive resolution places further obstacles in the path peace,” U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the speech by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the General Assembly shortly before the vote “defamatory and venomous,” saying it was “full of mendacious propaganda” against Israel.
Abbas had told the General Assembly that it was “being asked today to issue the birth certificate of Palestine.” Abbas said the vote is the last chance to save the two-state solution.
After the vote, Netanyahu said the UN move violated past agreements between Israel and the Palestinians and that Israel would act accordingly, without elaborating what steps it might take.